1937 MG SA 2-litre Sports Saloon
Registration no. AOW 991
Chassis no. SA1893
Engine no. OPHG 2174
Announced in time for The Motor Show of 1935, MGs new SA was well received by the motoring press and reported by The Motor as just the type of design to appeal to the modern sports car enthusiast who has come to realise that speed with silence has a fascination all its own Initially exhibited at Olympia that year, early models were equipped with the 2,062cc, 15.98hp engine, hence the 2-litre designation which stuck with the model throughout its production run, although regular production models were soon to be fitted with the 2,322cc, 17.97hp engine. The smooth, six-cylinder unit was fuelled by twin SU carburettors, Lockheed hydraulic braking was standard, Jackall hydraulic permanent jacks were a practical feature and, for the 1937 season, a synchromesh gearbox was fitted along with improved remote control gear-change, telescopic steering column and quick-action petrol filler cap. The saloon version that year was offered at £389 and boasted 20-22mpg fuel economy. It was indeed a formidable contender in the sporting and luxury car market, the interior being as luxuriously appointed as many supposedly grander marques.
This car was rescued for preservation in 1987 from an underground garage in Cardiff where it had languished for 17 years. It is known that the first owner was a Brigadier General Thorne and a good history file with the car contains letters from the MG factory in the cars earliest days. Remarkably it comes also with its 1937 instruction manual and its original tax disc.
The car was in a derelict state when acquired in 1987 and photographs on file record its rescue. Its current owner, with several concours standard MG restorations already under his belt, commenced a nut and bolt restoration. This involved new ash framing to coachwork, stripping panelling to bare metal, repairing where necessary using traditional methods and repainting in its current Damask Red over Silver Grey livery. All internal wood trimmings were fully refurbished with correct inlays, the steering wheel reconditioned along with dashboard and all dials, the sliding sunroof was rebuilt and recovered, rear blind and period cushions fitted and the seats reupholstered in best quality dark red Connolly leather. The headlining was replaced with West of England cloth and red leather-bound Wilton carpets fitted.
The mechanical restoration was truly comprehensive, the chassis being stripped completely, shotblasted, primed and repainted, springs and axles rebuilt, new half shafts and hubs fitted along with all new bearings. The brakes were refurbished and brake slave cylinders re-lined with stainless steel sleeves. The engine and gearbox were rebuilt with appropriate lead-free cylinder-head modifications. New wiring was fitted, electrics reconditioned, radiator re-cored, petrol pumps and carburettors rebuilt while the wheels were re-spoked and fitted with new tyres and tubes. Chromework throughout was re-plated. In short, a most comprehensive restoration was completed, a detailed record with photographs and bills being offered on file.
Since restoration the car has been used sparingly but has proved to have excellent performance and drives particularly well. It is offered with a Swansea V5 registration document for its original Southampton registration number, comes with an old style log book, current MoT certificate and road fund licence. Surely one of the finest examples of this marque and model now fully prepared for active rallying or concours d élégance display.